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Royal Navy Problems

Old 29th May 2020, 13:07
  #21 (permalink)  
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Boffin - the reason it was on the RN is because that 's what the original article was on. I take your points about an "endorsed requirement" but I think Cope's point was that they are necessary (or at least good to have) and that in the case of the T45 cruise missiles there were statements that extra missile systems would (or perhaps could) be fitted later. He also was in favour of buying a couple more "bay" class and patrol boats and... but I thought it was getting a bit OTT

The problem with "British Warships & Auxiliaries" is that the writers only see the world through naval eyes - but it's a useful source and the article was a reasonable summary of issues affecting one branch of the services. I agree it would be easy to do the same for every other one as well - but I haven't seen a recent succinct summary in any "popular" source.
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Old 29th May 2020, 13:10
  #22 (permalink)  
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Eval8ter & Bing - thank you - that is understandable.
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Old 29th May 2020, 17:03
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And what on earth is an "airframer" when it's at home?

Flight International isn't remotely what it was in the days of Scruggs Aviation.
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Old 29th May 2020, 18:01
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Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
I do hope that the OP appreciates that there is actually only one "Royal Navy", irrespective of its acknowledged problems and of course the existence of other navies using the prefix "Royal".

Jack


Fixed

SPlot
My compliments and salaams SPlot!

Jack
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Old 29th May 2020, 18:15
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Unhappy

Originally Posted by Parson View Post
I thought that had been sold to Brazil?
Sorry, that was my point. perhaps HMS Ocean should have been retained!
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Old 30th May 2020, 05:10
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Originally Posted by ACW599 View Post
And what on earth is an "airframer" when it's at home?
Airframer - a manufacturer of airframes or aircraft manufacturer.
Airbus actually use the term on a couple of their aeroplanes.
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Old 30th May 2020, 10:19
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Platform(s) for Merlin HC4s

The real requirement for all three services is a government that takes defence seriously and is prepared to raise the taxes to pay for it.

I have always had the greatest respect for the Royal Marines and the CHF: also, the need to sustain the littoral capability – never understood why anyone in Dark Blue could think otherwise. In the event of no friendly local government or secure airfield it is always the naval capability most likely to be used IMHO. I may always have been a blue water big gun/4 carrier fantasist but know we need as much of an all-round capability as can be afforded. We also need enough airframes and ships that we can afford to lose some and still fight.

Feels like 1982 all over again – though the defence budget, was a lot larger in GDP terms. None of this is going to be fixed in the immediate post-C19 environment. Imagine being depressed by a reduction to c. 50 escorts today!

In ’82 when Op Corporate kicked off, Michael Clapp was expecting Hermes or Invincible to be a dedicated LPH for retaking the Falklands - not having a dedicated LPH was a real issue for him. 38 years on we are back to the same issue.

RN got Ocean (built to commercial specs as the ‘affordable’ solution) then HMG stripped fixed wing A to A and then GA from the CVs, so all were now CVS/LPHs with only close in AA weapons. No replacement for Ocean so no dedicated LPH but two much bigger CVAs.

As Bing says, one assumes in the event of a littoral operation the plan would be for the Junglies to fly from QE or PoW: can one hull be a CVA, CVS and LPH at once in a medium or high level conflict? It is not just the availability of a deck but all the support and maintenance to sustain the flying – it needs to be in the same single ship for efficiency. Presumably 847 need carrying too to provide Wildcats for battlefield recce?

The RMs with LPDs but no LPH to me has a parallel with removing the guns from Harrier - reduce the capability and then later dispense with it as it cannot do the job. They will need support from the Chinook Force (as Evalu8ter implies) and, as I was (additionally) loudly reminded on Thursday, the AAC with Apaches. It is a purple world now folks.

PS Wasn’t the original plan all Merlin when Lynx retired?

Ramble/Rant over.

For comic light relief: Regarding refuelling

Surely with multiple non-US F35B operators, in the medium term there is room for a couple of money pits e.g. a reengined STORVL MQ-25B or Harrier KQ Mk13 with buddy tanks? Pegasus generates twice the thrust of the F137 and isn’t much bigger. Shame they did not make the QEs STOBAR then a MiG29K with buddy tanks style option would be possible (but serviceable more than one day per week please).
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Old 30th May 2020, 13:43
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Well if we're looking for light relief how about a balloon towed behind a frigate traveling at speed with a hose and drogue streamed out behind ? The problem maybe the F-35 would use more fuel hovering faster than they could take on replacement volumes.............

Seriously tho the critical question is are they ever likely to be involved in a medium to high level conflict in the next 40 -50 years - I can imagine a series of low level actions, and I can't see the UK in a high level conflict on it's own. Historically I'd guess the Falklands would be the classic example - so one in 70 years?
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Old 30th May 2020, 18:53
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Seriously tho the critical question is are they ever likely to be involved in a medium to high level conflict in the next 40 -50 years - I can imagine a series of low level actions, and I can't see the UK in a high level conflict on it's own. Historically I'd guess the Falklands would be the classic example - so one in 70 years?
OK I’ll bite.

I agree the likelihood is very low. That of using an SSBN in anger is (one hopes) infinitely smaller but the consensus is the UK needs to maintain the deterrent. Surely HMG's job is to insure against the risk by having a range of credible capabilities. Frankly. if no British service(wo)man is put in harm’s way in that period I would be overjoyed but would still want us to have properly equipped armed forces. If history teaches us anything it is expect the unexpected and prepare for it.

As the House of Commons Defence select committee stated, the QEs cannot provide the ability to carry a full commando; never mind land and more importantly sustain it. Nor, as I understand, are they designed to have fully equipped marines running around. As the RAF does not have B-2 cost range assets, the running and refit cost of major naval units is always going to be the most vulnerable to HM Treasury and the amphibs are first on the list even at a quarter of the acquisition cost of a T45 due to 60% higher running costs and no other ships being dependent on them. Using amphibious capability efficiently needs airlift to get the boots on the ground and ships to enable consolidation.

I cannot find the quote at present but several decades ago a naval CDS was asked by a minister how many times UK amphibious capability had been used since WW2 and how many times it had been foreseen. I recall the answers as being 20+ and 1 (Suez as it was planned).

I hope we would all agree that a buy of multipurpose CMV-22s with the ‘Ro-Ro’ refuelling kits to fulfil both that role, COD, and potentially troop/equipment lift makes capability sense. The problem is convincing politicians to budget for acquisition and ongoing operating costs without the UK losing another equally or more important actual or potential capability. Now it will be even more unlikely post-C19.

On the good news front were the successful test firings of Wildcat mounted Martlet LMMs. Designed (amongst other things) to knock out naval threats from small ships and fast inshore attack craft and an air threat from light aircraft. If we are very lucky it might shut up some of the doom mongers regarding asymmetric threats to the carriers. (Don't think the trials have been mentioned here)
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Old 30th May 2020, 22:18
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft View Post
OK I’ll bite.

On the good news front were the successful test firings of Wildcat mounted Martlet LMMs. Designed (amongst other things) to knock out naval threats from small ships and fast inshore attack craft and an air threat from light aircraft. If we are very lucky it might shut up some of the doom mongers regarding asymmetric threats to the carriers. (Don't think the trials have been mentioned here)
Martlet missile firings boost Royal Navy Wildcat defences

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Old 31st May 2020, 08:09
  #31 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the considered response LL and the update on the Wildcat/martlett

As you say the amphibious capability is/near shore environment is by far the most likely place the carriers will see action. It's a different question (and one beaten to death on the Carrier thread) as to the relative merits of more Assault type ships - such as "Ocean", or an "America" or "Juan Carlos" as opposed the "QE" CV's.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 06:38
  #32 (permalink)  
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RN Carriers - latest from NAO

The original carrier thread seems t have dropped off the bottom of the forum -

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53186611

Ambitious plans for the Royal Navy's two new aircraft carriers - each of which cost more than £3bn - will not be met without proper funding, the government spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office highlighted concerns over missing key elements such as aircraft and support ships. The Ministry of Defence said it expects to meet its target of declaring an "initial operating capability" for the carriers by December 2020. But the NAO called the target "tight". And it is uncertain whether the first of the ships would be fully ready in time for 2028, when the only existing operational one is due to be taken out of service.

The MoD is yet to commit the funding required for enough Lightning II fighter jets to sustain the carriers over their expected 50-year operating life, the NAO said in its report. It also said the Navy had just one supply ship able to keep the carriers stocked with food and ammunition while on operations. And it further warned the carriers' new Crowsnest airborne radar system - which forms a crucial part of its defences - was running 18 months late, further diminishing its capabilities during its first two years.

What is clear is that all the elements of Carrier Strike will take a significant bite out of the defence budget at a time when it's already under strain. Labour MP Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee which follows the work of the NAO, said the Navy was in danger of being left with a "hollowed-out" capability unless the issues were addressed. "The Ministry of Defence has lofty ambitions for the carriers but hasn't put its money where its mouth is," Ms Hillier added. "Worryingly, it still doesn't know the full cost of supporting and operating Carrier Strike."

A MoD spokesman said: "Carrier Strike is a complex challenge, which relies on a mix of capabilities and platforms. "We remain committed to investing in this capability, which demonstrates the UK's global role. Despite the disruptions of Covid-19, the Carrier Strike group is on track for its first operational deployment."
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 07:29
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Reading a BBC article this morning on the NAO concerns for the aircraft carriers, it states “And it further warned the carriers' new Crowsnest airborne radar system - which forms a crucial part of its defences - was running 18 months late, further diminishing its capabilities during its first two years.“
Does anybody have any insight to the delays? I had a vested interest in this program trying to sell a product solution to Thales but was unsuccessful. Without breaching any commercial or security issues, can anybody shed any light on the reasons for the delay? I am retired now so it’s just for interest, no axe to grind.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 08:26
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"Conducted between 27 April and 21 May using a test range off the West Wales coast, the activity “will enable this high-end capability to enter service with the Royal Navy later this year”, says Leonardo.OH Yeah?
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 08:35
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
The Ministry of Defence said it expects to meet its target of declaring an "initial operating capability" for the carriers by December 2020. But the NAO called the target "tight". And it is uncertain whether the first of the ships would be fully ready in time for 2028, when the only existing operational one is due to be taken out of service.
Can any one explain the second sentence above to me? Apart from the BBC starting a sentence with 'and' I feel like it's been edited to remove the key detail of what's being taken out of service.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 08:53
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Not difficult, it's the Fleet Solid Support ship project. For which there is an approved budget, but due to some rather exuberant commercial T&Cs, didn't get to contract.

Currently enmeshed in Good ideas club thinking in NCHQ. Note that FSS is also required for worldwide naval operations, not just Carrier Strike. It's replacing three ships with a cumulative age of around 110 years. Fort Vic decommissions in 2028.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 09:46
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Back in 2010 the MoD kicked off the Military Afloat Reach & Sustainability (MARS) programme to plan a structured replacement of logistical support. Originally they planned on 11 vessels - 5 fleet tankers, 3 logistics vessels, two solid support ships and another tanker. Now it looks as if it might be the 4 Tides (all in service) and "up to" (and we know what THAT means) 3 solid support ships to repalce the "Forts".

It was reconfirmed in 2015 SDSR and initial assessment started in 2016 with invitation documents to design and build sent out Dec 2018 with "contract to be awarded in 2020" - almost certainly it will go abroad as they are going to be built (like the "Tides" ) to non military standards.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 10:48
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Back in 2010 the MoD kicked off the Military Afloat Reach & Sustainability (MARS) programme to plan a structured replacement of logistical support. Originally they planned on 11 vessels - 5 fleet tankers, 3 logistics vessels, two solid support ships and another tanker. Now it looks as if it might be the 4 Tides (all in service) and "up to" (and we know what THAT means) 3 solid support ships to repalce the "Forts".

It was reconfirmed in 2015 SDSR and initial assessment started in 2016 with invitation documents to design and build sent out Dec 2018 with "contract to be awarded in 2020" - almost certainly it will go abroad as they are going to be built (like the "Tides" ) to non military standards.
Something like 75% of that is incorrect. MARS dates from 2005. The competition for the FSS was halted in Nov 2019 - largely because they didn't get enough tender responses, three from five yards withdrew, including the one that built the Tides. That was down to some rather unrealistic commercial terms and conditions and some "interesting" technical specifications, including a number of military standards. It will come back out - and there is significant political appetite to have it done onshore. Whether UK industry can actually deliver that on top of current contracted work is a different question.


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Old 26th Jun 2020, 14:00
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happy to be corrected Boffin. Do you know if they are still going to go for more than 3 ships eventually?

PS "6 posts"??? you've been around a lot longer than that surely???
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 14:13
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As Not_ a_Boffin states the BBC omission is about FSS.

Although much of its content was already known or obvious to any one with half a brain (excluding politicians): reading the summary of the NAO report has quite ruined my Friday mood. Makes me very worried about what is in NOT FOR NAO EYES documents.

Jonathan Beale's BBC story seems to me to be soft pedalling.

Summary Carrier Strike – Preparing for deployment

9 - The Department has been slow to develop the solid support ships which are crucial to operating a carrier strike group. Carrier Strike relies on the sustained availability of munitions and stores, such as ammunition and food. However, the Department has only one ship able to resupply a carrier group, which slows the tempo and reach at which this can be done. It has long been aware that this will restrict the operational freedom of Carrier Strike but has not yet developed a solution. In November 2019, the Department stopped the competition to build three new support ships due to concerns about value for money. It believes this will delay the introduction of new ships by between 18 and 36 months, making it uncertain the first new ship will be operational before the existing support ship leaves service in 2028. The Department will also incur additional maintenance costs while it uses its existing support ship as an interim solution
Should you want to read the report or summary they are available at:
https://www.nao.org.uk/report/carrie...or-deployment/

For those who don't, other "highlights" include:
(Including Crowsnest and F35s as mentioned above)
  • The new Crowsnest system is 18 months late, which will affect Carrier Strike’s capabilities in its first two years.
    • The initial contracted capability will not be available until September 2021, 18 months later than planned
    • Further delays mean that it does not expect to have full airborne radar capability until May 2023
  • The Department has not yet made funding available for enough Lightning II jets to sustain Carrier Strike operations over its life
    • The Department plans to reassess the number and type of Lightning II jets that it needs in the Integrated Review, but its ability to use Carrier Strike will be constrained if it has fewer jets than planned.
  • The Department has still not provided the necessary funding for logistics projects and munitions.
  • The Department expects to meet its target of declaring initial operating capability for Carrier Strike in December 2020, but with a basic(airborne) radar capability.
    • Initial operating capability’ is a single, trained Lightning II squadron (up to 12 jets), able to embark on a joint warfighting mission with appropriate support and maritime protection.
  • The Department’s policy ambition for Carrier Strike will be reviewed.
    • It will assess the impact of ongoing financial pressures and determine its defence priorities, including whether it can fund all the original roles of Carrier Strike, including supporting amphibious capabilities
  • The Department faces investment prioritisation decisions to maintain and enhance the Carrier Strike capability over the longer term.
    • The Department has not established a consolidated view of the enhancements that are needed to continue to develop Carrier Strike’s capabilities, or their cost. It will need to make funding decisions in the next 10 years, such as deciding how to replace or extend Merlin helicopters, which are due to go out of service in 2030. These decisions will create added funding pressures at a time when the Equipment Plan is already unaffordable.
  • The Department is developing a fuller understanding of what Carrier Strike will cost to operate and support in the future.
    • Given the strategic importance of Carrier Strike, we would expect the Department to develop a clear view of support and operating costs. It estimated the additional costs of Carrier Strike in 2017, but this did not include all elements of a carrier strike group. It plans to update this estimate after the first deployment in 2021
  • The Department may not have made sufficient provision in later years’ budgets to reflect the full costs of operating Carrier Strike
    • Failure to make realistic cost estimates creates a risk that the Department will face increased financial pressure in the future, perpetuating the cycle of short-term decision-making that we have seen in our reports on the Equipment Plan
  • The Department needs to ensure the revised governance arrangements establish clear responsibilities and cross-command coherence for developing Carrier Strike.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 26th Jun 2020 at 14:59. Reason: noticed a failed cut and paste
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